-attie/-addie Names Too Popular?

We're looking at a very traditional, old-fashioned (and secret) name for our little girl-to-be. It's also a rare name, which we appreciate. We LOVE the name and have been calling her by it since we found out the sex. DH wants to use the nn Hattie. I like it, but I'm wary of giving up our rarer real name when it seems like the -attie/-addie names are quite trendy. Are the -attie/-addie names too popular? Are we at the beginning or end of that trend? (I seem to hear lots of "Maddie") 


May 22, 2012 6:12 PM

In my experience, if nicknames are used as loving diminutives, and not as the name used upon introduction, enrollment, etc, there is no reason for the full name to be supplanted by the nickname. You can name her the full name, introduce her as the full name, and then sometimes call her Hattie with affection.

By hwar
May 23, 2012 9:39 PM

If you love both the long form and the nickname, I wouldn't sweat it. You can move pretty seamlessly between the two.  My niece had a baby nickname and switched to the long form of her name once she entered elementary school (to avoid being yet another [nickname] in the classroom). In her family we still call her by the nickname occasionally though!  So if you found there was confusion or people assumed Addy, Maddy, or Mattie when you meant Hattie, you could always switch over).

May 24, 2012 1:26 AM

I have come across quite a few addie/maddies recently and that does seem very popular. The 'atties' not so much. I know one Harriet (who goes by Hattie) and I've seen Harriet/Hattie on quite a few lists recently but it's hardly common. Matilda isn't uncommon in my area but none seem to go by Mattie. I haven't come across any Henriettas (Hattie), Patricia (Pattie) or any other variant I can think of.....

I think any girls name that doesn't end in 'a' or 'ia' has a reasonable chance of standing out.

I don't think it's a problem going between the long form of the name and the nickname, and if you like both it's gives you lots of options.

By Guest (not verified)
May 24, 2012 8:41 AM

Due to my Southern American accent, I can't differentiate well between -addie and -attie.  They sound the same to me when others say it and when I say it.  Like I can't tell whether the name of the daughter on that TV show Parenthood is Hattie or Haddie (now that I spell it out, I guess the latter isn't a name, so it's probably the former).   

I don't know if that is a point against using such a nickname, but...

May 24, 2012 11:28 AM

We're also in the South, so the -addie/-attie names are the same for us. Thanks for pointing out that accents matter. :-) 

(Side note on the same principle: We crossed Anne off the list - even though I love it - because down here it's pronounced A-yun.) 

May 24, 2012 1:25 PM

It's not your Southern accent! I'm really far from being Southern American - Canadian, to be precise - and I went back and forth, trying to figure out if she was Hattie or Haddie, so I looked it up, and it turns out to be Haddie! I believe that most North Americans don't make a clear distinction in that context.

May 24, 2012 8:25 PM

Interesting, because Haddie and Hattie are very different sounds in my accent (I'm Australian).

On a similar note though, for years I thought the main character on sex and the city was Kerry not Carrie. Kerry and Carrie are very different in my accent but they seemed the same on the show.

May 25, 2012 9:59 AM

What you describe is the Mary-marry-merry merger. In New York City, there's a couple different accents, where Mary and merry are sometimes merged, sometimes not. Marry remains unmerged.

However, in Los Angeles/Hollywood, all three are definitely merged to the "short e" sound. Thus, "Kerry."

For me, Kerry=Carrie=Cary=carry. I'm fully merged. But my Haddie and Hattie are different.

(Hey, if -addie and -attie are the same sound for someone, then we have new creative name spellings! Matison! Attison! Mattalyn!)

May 25, 2012 11:22 AM

Mary-marry-merry are exactly identical to me, but it's not what I'd describe as a "short e" sound. (That's the one in "bed" and "set".) It's more like a "long a", except without the 'y' that it inevitably gets combined with in English when not followed by an 'r'. In other words, the first two sounds of Mary and May are the same for me.

I also don't think the confusion between -addie and -attie comes from the vowel. (The 'a' is the same 'ae' sound for me in both: like in "bat" or "Mack".) I vaguely recall from college linguistics classes the concept of a "flap", which is a sort of short tap of the tongue in the vicinity of the roof of the mouth. Some dialects of English tend to turn any internal 't' or 'd' into a flap, which would make -addie and -attie come out exactly the same for them. Then there's the general difficulty in telling a voiced 'd' from a voiceless 't', especially in dialects that don't really aspirate (add an 'h'-like puff of breath after) the voiceless consonants, and Maddie and Mattie can start to sound awfully alike.

May 25, 2012 9:41 AM

hope this helps, i like the name Adelais and it is pronounced like Ad-lay, or Ad-uh-lay, depending on where you're from ,i'm sure. i have never met anyone with this name, but think it's great! then you could have Addy and not be stuck in a trend.

May 25, 2012 11:07 AM

I think a Hattie would probably fit in enough that her name wouldn't be seen as odd, but it's just different enough from the other addie/attie names that she'll still stand out.  I agree that if the nickname is more a term of endearment and not a full time thing you'll be fine.  Harriet is a lovely name BTW, it was on my list for a girl but we never had any. 

By Guest (not verified)
May 27, 2012 3:41 PM

I'm quite sure Hattie is going to be a big one in the coming years.

It just sounds like one a celebrity mom or two will grab on to.

At this point, I'd say you're at the cutting edge, as I've yet to meet one irl.

So, I think the only issue is whether it will bother you if it does become trendy in 5 years or so.

Maddy/Addie names are all Extremely popular, but to my ear it's a different sound, and I find Mattie vs Maddie to be very distinct sounds.

Hadley seems quite trendy recently, but again, for me, that's quite a different sound.

May 27, 2012 6:23 PM

I agree with you. My husband has always loved the name Madeleine (nn Maddie). I explained to him how many Madisons, Madelyns, and Madelines there are out there right now. Probably some other names that use Maddie as a nickname as well, but I don't know what they are. As much as we both loved the name Madeleine, we felt as though there was a strong possibility that we'd have to give up on the nickname or live with the fact that there would be many little girls with a similar (Addie, Cady, Hattie....not to mention Abby, etc) nicknames that would be easy to confuse.

I think that it's fine to use it, but just be careful of the popularity. One thing that you might want to do is to just call her by her nickname when she's a baby. Then, when she gets to daycare or school, see how big of an issue it is and maybe decide to start calling her by her full name on a more regular basis. There's nothing that says that you have to keep using a nickname indefinitely. My husband really liked the nickname Maddie and said it would bother him if it were really popular in our area, so we nixed it off the list.


By Guest (not verified)
May 29, 2012 1:06 PM

Dilemma averted! DH is totally sold on the full name. We've agreed to call her the full name, knowing that she'll have nicknames available if she wants to use them when she gets older. 

Thanks everybody for the input!